Court Says Draft Registration May Exempt Women

1981

The U.S. Supreme Court upholds the Military Selective Service Act, requiring that men ages 18 through 25 register for the draft. In Rostker v. Goldberg, the Court rejects the argument that exempting women from the act violates the right to due process under the Fifth Amendment. The Court says the exemption is not the “accidental byproduct of a traditional way of thinking about women.” Women, it holds, are not “similarly situated” for the purposes of draft registration because they are barred from combat roles. The Court says the problems that would be created by drafting women for noncombat roles were sufficient to justify their exemption.